Triads for Film Scoring

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Scott Murphy added a wonderful tutorial online for free at YouTube at the following URLs. It's one of the best explanations for the use of chords (triads - 3 notes) in film music. If you are interested in writing for film (film scoring), this is a good place to start. I've recapped some of the information from his tutorial below.

Triads for Film Scoring by Scott Murphy



Triad Combination List (chord inversions can be used)



Formula: triad 1 – number of spaces between root notes – triad 2

M2M – Protagonism (Back to the Future)

M6M – Outer Space (Star Trek)

M8M – Fantastical (The Fellowship of the Ring)

M4m – Sadness, Loss (Lost)

M5m – Romantic, Middle Eastern (Stargate)

m5M – Wonder, Transcendence and also M7m (Might at the Museum)

m2M – Mystery or Dark Comedy (Batman 1989)

m11M – Dramatic (The Dark Night)

m6m – Antagonism, Danger and less character based (Raiders of the Ark)

m8m – Antagonism, Evil and more character based (The Empire Strikes Back)

If you are new to writing music and need a free course to learn how to read music and play the piano, I teach free lessons online at

Created: Feb 26, 2017

Tags: tutorial, film scoring

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